How to Encourage Your Toddler To Talk: 5 Effective Steps
For many toddlers, this is an exciting time in their life because toddlers are at the age where words and actions start having significant meaning to them. Some toddlers may be able to speak a few words while others may even speak complete and comprehensible sentences. No matter their level of verbal communication at this point, their speech is still developing so there are multiple avenues to go in regards to how to encourage your toddler to talk.
A lot of toddlers at this stage are very curious and tend to be “sponges”. We call them sponges because they soak up everything! Imagine a world where everything is new and everything is a learning experience. That is the wonderful world for your toddler! Even if your toddler may not be verbally communicating yet, there is a high chance they are still absorbing the world around them. This makes it the best time to focus on how to improve toddler speech and learn ways on how to encourage your toddler to talk.
In this article, we offer some effective steps in how to encourage your toddler to talk. The most important thing at this stage though is teaching toddlers how to learn. Do not be upset if they seem like they are taking their time talking; this is the time to learn how to encourage them to talk so they can be fully confident when they are ready.
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1. Use Open-ended questions
Open-ended questions give more space for possible conversations to unfold. Unlike closed questions where the answer signifies the end of that conversation, open-ended ones allow people to have a deeper and more engaging discourse.
This is the same with adults as well as children, so this is a big trick when you are trying to learn ways to encourage your toddler to talk. Instead of asking them questions they answer with a simple YES or NO, be creative and ask them something they will need to think about before answering.
Do not be discouraged when there are few back-and-forth conversations at the beginning. You may be doing most of the talking at first. That is okay! Helping toddlers learn how a conversation is supposed to flow is a huge part in how to encourage your toddler to talk. If you ask an open-ended question, give them time to think and try to respond. If they don’t, you can give them “conversation tidbits” where you help encourage them. Eventually, with practice, they will start filling in the blanks!
Make sure that you are pausing to give them enough time if they would like to respond. Sometimes we are too quick to jump in for them. It may take more time at the beginning, but the process will speed up before you know it.
2. Read with them
A lot of times, we hear this advice very often, but the secret of how to encourage your toddler to talk is not simply reading to them, it is how to effectively go through the process of reading.
Whenever you take a book to read for them, ensure that they are also active participants in the whole process. When you read them a story before bedtime, ask them what they read the previous day and let them narrate to you what they learned. In some cases, take a break to allow them to repeat what you just read to them. Helping toddlers learn
Get them beautifully illustrated books and let them tell you about what they see in the books. You can encourage them to talk more about these drawings. For instance, if they find the drawing of a duck, ask them what noise the duck makes and so on.
3. Instead of asking questions, comment
Sometimes questions place us in the leading role and the toddler will have to follow as they answer what we ask of them. This is good in some ways when helping toddlers learn, but when it comes to how to encourage your toddler to talk, it is helpful to let them take the responsibility and handle the conversation their own way.
For instance, instead of holding up a toy car and asking your toddler, “what is this?” you can start the conversation by “Look at this car! This car is _______.”
4. Make it fun and exciting
Toddlers lose interest pretty fast and they outgrow moments that they perceive as boring even faster. To hold a conversation for some time with toddlers, helping toddlers learn that conversations are engaging and fun is crucial. How to encourage your toddler to talk is mostly how to encourage your toddler to engage, and the child needs to be entertained to be engaged.
You can apply the use of gestures and their favorite toys to drive points home. Tonal variations also work as they will catch their attention quickly. Encourage role-playing with others toddlers or kids in your vicinity. This will encourage them to be comfortable speaking.
Also, introduce new ideas to them. Bring them in on the cooking and talk to them throughout the process. Go on adventures and talk about it. The more memories = the more room for conversations.
5. Bring in the songs
Songs also play a great role in how to encourage your toddler to talk. Find silly songs or nursery rhymes that are repetitive and interactive. Toddlers love anything that is repetitive.
Keep playing them these songs and encourage them to sing along. They will be able to comprehend the words and understand what is going on, particularly if you have accompanying videos. Involve some dancing as well and let everything become interesting and fun for the kids.
Using these 5 effective steps, you are creating a road map on how to encourage your toddler to talk. You are also building foundations on helping toddlers learn, so they will be able to build off of it once they enter the school-age. Always check back at milestonemom.com to learn more about how to improve toddler speech and more about language development in children.
Comment below: what are some day-to-day activities you do with your toddler to work on speech?